Tie & Draw in Cricket: Difference Explained! (With Rules & Examples)

When it comes to cricket, it is easy to get confused between a “Tie” and a “Draw”. Although the English Dictionary may give a sense that they are pretty much the same, but it is not so in the game of Cricket. So, when does a match end in a tie and when is it called a draw? What is the difference between the two? We shall learn all about it in this article today, along with a few examples and interesting cases that have occurred in the cricket history!

So, what is the difference between a Tie and a Draw in Cricket? The difference between a Tie and a Draw in cricket is that a match can end in a draw only in Test Cricket (unlimited overs matches). However, a match can end in a tie in both Test Cricket as well as ODI & T20 matches (limited overs matches).

For a team to win a Test match, the side bowling last (4th innings) has to take all the 10 wickets. Otherwise, it is considered a draw.

It may seem a little confusing at first, but it is easy to understand the scenarios with the help of a few examples. Let’s get into the details of a tie and a draw.

When does a Match end in a Tie?

According to the laws of cricket, A cricket match can end up in a Tie when, at the end of all the innings of a match, the scores of the two teams are exactly the same.

To understand the meaning of this in detail, we must first understand what the term “end of all the innings” means.

In the game of cricket, an innings is considered as “ended” when

  1. A side is all out
  2. At the fall of a wicket, further balls remain but no further batsman is available to bat (especially when a batsman is retired hurt)
  3. The captain declares the innings closed
  4. The captain forfeits the innings
  5. The number of prescribed overs have been bowled.

A point to note here is that out of the aforementioned points, 3 and 4 typically happen during a Test Match.

Now, let’s revisit the definition of a Tied Match –

ODI or T20 ending in a Tie?

In an ODI or a T20 international, a match consists of a total of 2 innings. Thus, if the team batting 2nd ends up scoring exactly the same number of runs as that of the team batting 1st either due to the end of 50 (or 20 overs) or due to losing all the wickets, the match will result in a tie.

In a limited overs match, even if the side batting second doesn’t get all out, a match can end in a tie as long as the scores are level at the end of the stipulated overs.

Example of a Tied ODI or T20 Match

There have been a number of ODI matches that have ended in a tie. We shall take a look at two interesting examples.

India vs England (Group B ODI Match, World Cup 2011)

A perfect setup for a great match being held between two highly rated teams of the 2011 World Cup. The match was being played in Bangalore.

After winning the toss, India elected to bat first. With a marvelous innings from Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 120 for India, and ably support by Gautam Gambhir (51) & Yuvraj Singh (58), India ended its innings by getting all out for a score of 338 from 49.5 overs.

England, batting second, were off to a great start and cruising to victory at one stage when they reached 281 for 2 with Andrew Strauss batting on a magnificient 158 (145). Unfortunately, they lost 4 quick wickets causing the match tot turn on its head! In 49 overs, England had scored 325 for 8. It all boiled down to England needing 14 more from the last 6 balls.

However, England could just manage to score 13 runs and England innings ended up with a score of 338/8 from its full 50 overs.

Since both the teams managed to score exactly the same number of runs at the end of their respective innings, the thrilling Match ended in a tie!

(Full Scorecard)

Test Match ending in a Tie

A test match consists of a total of 4 innings. A test match can end in a tie when both the teams end up with exactly the same score after all the 4 innings (2 innings each for both the teams) have been completed.

A test match can end in a tie only when the side batting last gets all out and the total runs scored by both the teams in both the innings are exactly the same

It is important to note that if the teams score that same number of runs after completing just 1 innings each, it is not considered a tie. For a tie to occur, the total runs scored by both the teams after the end of the all the 4 innings has to be equal.

Example of a Tied Test Match

A test match ending in a tie is a very rare event. In the history of test cricket of over 2000 matches played in over 130 years, only 2 matches have ever ended in a tie till date.

India vs Australia (Chennai, 1986-87)

In this historic match, Australia won the toss and batted first. Australia declared their first innings at the score of 574/7. In response, India struggled but managed to put up a total of 397/10. At the end of first innings, Australia had a lead of 177 runs.

In the seconds innings, owing to the paucity of time remaining in the match, Australia managed to declare their innings for 170/5 setting India a tough target of 348 runs to win the match. However, despite a strong performance for a second innings, India got all out for a score of 347 with several overs to spare on the last day of the test match!

Thus, since Australia scored a total of 744 runs (574 + 170), and India also managed to score 744 runs (397 + 347), and the fact that there were overs remaining to be bowled in the test match, the match ended in a tie!

(Full Scorecard)

So, how does a Cricket Match end in a Draw?

In cricket, only a test match (unlimited overs cricket) can end in a draw.

A cricket match ends in a draw when the number of overs or the time alloted to play the match (5 days) ends before both the innings of one or both the teams come to an end.

For a test match to have a result, all the four innings (2 innings of both the teams) have to end. (please refer to the meaning of an innings coming to an end as mentioned above). Thus, if all the four innings don’t get completed at the end of 5 days, the test match ends in a draw.

Can a Cricket Match end in Both a Tie and a Draw?

Technically, a cricket match can only have one outcome. Thus, a cricket match can not end in both a tie and a draw.

However, a Test Match can end with a situation where the runs scored by both the teams are exactly the same and there are no more overs left to bowl!

This is a perplexing situation. Would it be a Tie or should it be a Draw?

In fact, there have been 2 occasions when such an event occurred in a test match. Let’s take a look at one of them.

India vs West Indies (Mumbai, 2011)

West Indies won the toss and elected to bat first. In the first innings, West Indies managed to score a strong total of 590. In response, India put up a fighting score of 482/10.

At the end of first innings, West Indies were leading by 108 runs.

In the second innings, West Indies crumbled in front of India’s spin bowling for a total of 134 all out. Just two Spinners took all the 10 wickets. As a result, India was set a target of 243 runs to win. At this point, only 64 overs remained in the match.

India, batting last, managed to reach 240 for 8 wickets with 1 over remaining in the test match. On the last ball, India was 241/8 and needed 2 runs to win. R Ashwin, the batsman on strike, hit the shot, completed the 1st run, but got run out while completing the 2nd run.

As a result, India ended up with a score of 242/9. Thus, both the teams managed to score 724 runs in the match. However, since West Indies couldn’t take all Indian wickets in the last innings before the end of day 5, the match ended in a draw with scores level!

(Full Scorecard)

The first of such an event occurred during a match in 1996 between England and Zimbabwe. Check out the full scorecard of that match.

What happens if a Cricket World Cup Final match ends in a Tie?

Prior to 2019, if a world cup final match ended with a tie, the world cup was supposed to be shared by the two teams playing the final.

However, for the World Cup in 2019 held in England, the rules were changed. If a final or a knockout match ended in a tie, the result of the match was to be decided by a super over!

Interestingly, the thrilling final match played between New Zealand the home team England ended in a Tie! The match went to a Super Over. To everyone’s utter shock and surprise, even the super over ended in a Tie!

Although the result of the match read as “Match ended as a Tie”. However, England ended as World Cup winners due to the more boundaries in the match (England hit 24 , New Zealand hit 16 boundaries)

(Full Scorecard)

How many Matches have ended in a Tie till date?

There have been a total of 2 Test matches, 38 ODI matches and 19 T20 International matches that have ended in a tie result.

The 1st ever match that ended in a tie was a Test match. The match was played between Australia and West Indies in 1960.

As mentioned above, in the 130 years+ history of test matches, a match has ended in a tie only twice. Australia has been involved in the match on both the occasions.

List of all the Tied ODI Matches –

Data source – ESPN Cricinfo

List of all Tied T20 International Matches –

Data Source – ESPN Cricinfo

Please note that the above information is updated until 30th April, 2020.

Related Question –

Q. Are there any other Outcomes of a Cricket Match?

A cricket match can end with a total of 8 outcomes. Apart from a match ending with a Win, Loss, Tie or a Draw, there can be the following outcomes –

  • No Result – When a cricket match gets affected due to rain or other environmental factors and a result can not be achieved.
  • Abandoned – When a match ends due to factors like rain or bad weather even before a ball is bowled.
  • Awarded – When either of the team refuses to play the match, the umpires then decide to award the match to the opposing team.
  • Conceded – When one of the two teams accepts defeat and concedes defeat to the other team.

Shrot Katewa

Shrot is an avid cricket fan! He has played and endorsed the sport ever since he was in School. In fact, he played as a professional cricketer represented his state team in National Indoor Cricket Championship held in Pune, India. Shrot loves the game, loves talking to other people who play the game and share his learnings with other interested individuals. He is the founder of CricketMastery.com. This website is a culmination of his desire to help others understand this wonderful Game of Cricket!

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